Last weekend I hosted a workshop called “Like a Pro” that was taught by Dr. Betty Martin from Seattle. Betty is my favourite teacher of intimacy skills. The class was geared to people like myself who use touch especially sensual and sexual touch as part of their profession – be it educational, therapeutic or as Betty put it, “providing a sensual oasis for your clients”, good old fashioned pleasure.
I’ll get into what we learned in the training in another post or you can have a look at Betty’s websites to see for yourself www.eroticeducation.org
After the workshop all of the students and Betty went to a local restaurant, Chai, where they were having a special evening called Mystic Romance. There was sensual music and belly dancing and general yumminess. Part of the evening was asking questions to a panel of “Love Experts”. Betty was one of them – she introduced herself as a Sacred Intimate and a Courtesan – what a lovely word. People wrote their question anonymously on a piece of paper and they were answered by the four “experts”.
There was the usually stuff like, “How do I get a man to commit?” or “How do I know he is the right man for me?” But then a question showed up that caused a silence to descend on the room:
I am a man who has a wife who I love deeply but I am wanting to explore my attraction to men. Should I tell her or should I just go ahead and do it?
As expected the answers from the panel were all about honesty and communicating with your partner. Even Betty said at first, “Don’t cheat dude!” But then as they were about to move on to the next question she asked for the microphone again. There was a serious and contemplative look on her face as she spoke.
“I am going to go out on a limb here. Let’s be real. Maybe your wife doesn’t want to hear the truth. But you owe it to yourself to explore your unexpressed erotic desires. My suggestion would be to seek out a professional to do that safely and with clear boundaries.”
Spoken like a true erotic revolutionary! There was a moment of silent discomfort in the room before the panel moved on. I wanted to jump up at that point and add, “Like me!” but I didn’t have the guts.
I see a lot of bi-curious men in my work. I remember one man who was in his late 70’s whose wife had died a few years earlier. He recounted his sexual experiences with his male friends as a teenager and how he had secretly wanted to explore that his whole life but didn’t. With his wife gone he was finally ready. He left my studio feeling like that happy teenage boy again.
Other men have wives and kids and they come to see me for a safe encounter. What does safe mean?
Well there is physical safety and emotional safety. Physically they know from my website that there will be no activities where there is a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. I don’t engage in kissing or intercourse and if I touch the intimate areas of his body I put on medical examination gloves. Beyond that they know that I am their to take care of their needs without imposing my own. This means offering a sensual experience with clear boundaries that honour their desires. And of course I respect their need for confidentiality.
On the emotional side of things safety boils down to a couple of keys attitudes which I hold as the foundation of my work.
Non-judgment, Acceptance, Nurture and Affirmation.
This is deep soul nourishment. Men in our culture are expected to live in very confining boxes. You are either straight or you are gay. Woe to the man who is somewhere in between. I takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to be bi-curious.
I’ve seen first hand the years of shame and self-hatred lift when massaging a man sensually I offer some simple words like, “It’s good to enjoy the touch of another man.” Or “It’s great to feel your arousal.” Or “I’m here with you.”
On some deep level I feel that I am healing the wounds that many men feel about not having sensual intimacy with their fathers or other men in their life. Of course I don’t mean that men should all be exchanging erotic massage but what about just savouring a satisfying hug or sitting close to a man and relaxing into the connection and companionship. I wonder what the world would be like if men could learn to relate in this sensual intimate way instead of relating through competitive sports, cut-throat business, or killing each other in war.